Hi! My name’s Medha Trehan and I’m a 15-year-old climate activist from Kilkenny City. I have taken part in many ‘Fridays for Future’ protests with my climate action group, ‘Lights Climate Action’, as well as being on the radio to promote them. I was also one of the 157 delegates at the RTE Youth Assembly on Climate Action in the Dail. I am a member of Climate Assembly Éire and recently won the Water Ambassador Programme. I also got accepted as a delegate to go to the Youth Environmental and Education Progress in Prague 2022. I am very passionate about the effects of climate change and the future of our world for my generation and the next generation to come!
What is climate change? In easy words, climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns. It is causing the melting of the ice caps, thus also causing rising sea levels, which is leading to more floods and extreme weather conditions. Warmer temperatures also enhance evaporation, which dries out soils and vegetation, leading to droughts. The climate crisis is a huge problem, and the reality is that scientific discovery of climate change began in the early 19th century!
This was when scientists first began to suspect natural changes in our climate and identified the greenhouse effect. As a youth climate activist, I have taken part in numerous protests, campaigns and events. The most recent one is the An Taisce Water Ambassador Programme. This is a nationwide Green Schools initiative to get young people to learn about the marine environment, water conservation and how to plan action-based events like clean-ups.
My school, Loretto College, Kilkenny, was awarded the Best Water School in the Eastern/Midlands region and I was awarded Regional Water Ambassador for all my work in the programme including planning clean-ups, organising documentary showings and raising awareness on social media. I was also invited to KCLR to talk about my win in the Programme.
Currently, I am working in the logistics group of Climate Assembly Éire which is a group of 30+ young people from across Ireland. We have created a list of 15 demands, which we presented to our local TDs on 23 October in the hope that they will bring this forward at the next Dail meeting. We hope to continue to push these demands and plan biannual town halls with them. In my experience, I have learnt that the best thing to do is get involved and speak out. Ultimately it is our future, and we deserve to have a say. Whether it’s at a school event or a national campaign, the best thing to do is to have your voice heard!
There have been numerous attempts and actions taken all over the world to combat this problem, the most recent one being COP26. COP26 was an event full of mixed emotions and feelings for many young climate activists. It was a heart-breaking and devastating event for the 138 developing countries, representing 5 billion people, whose proposal for a Loss and Damage Finance Facility to help deal with climate impacts were blocked by the EU, US and UK.
It was a frustrating event because of all the greenwashing and broken promises that were everywhere at COP. Instead of real emission reductions, we were given hollow and distant “net-zero pledges”. Despite all that, there is still hope! The people, the diverse communities and the different groups that protested on the streets of Glasgow were full of passion and big ideas for a better future. There were also COP26 protests held in Ireland in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Belfast on 6th November in solidarity. All the young people from across Ireland took to the streets to engage in these protests.
As a young person in Ireland, it is really accessible and easy to get involved. You can join your Green Schools Committee or your local climate action group. There are endless opportunities to make a difference and have your voice heard!
Editor’s note: Medha helps us to understand why change is needed, why it is so important, and what she is doing to make a difference. We know that so many educators in Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare are also very passionate and committed to prioritising children in the here and now and their futures, and we would love to hear from you! What steps are you taking to make a difference for a cleaner, healthier environment and how are you enabling and supporting children to be involved?